The most important nutrients for your age
The best way to get a range of vitamins is to eat a varied diet filled with lots of fruit and veggies. Although getting enough nutrients through your diet is ideal, you might want to consider adding vitamins and supplements after discussing your needs with your doctor. Here are the most important vitamins and minerals for every age group.
Your tween and teen years
These are the years to focus on getting enough vitamin D and calcium, says nutritionist Stephanie Schiff. “We need calcium for bone and muscle growth, but it doesn’t get absorbed as well without vitamin D,” she says. “These are the bone-building years for boys and girls, and if you don’t build enough bone, you will be prone to brittle bones later in life.” Tweens and teens should get 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D per day and 1,300 mg of calcium per day, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements. Again, it’s always best to get nutrients from the food we eat. Some tweens and teens may have special needs due to their diet or circumstances, and some foods will be a hard sell. Make it a habit to discuss diet and nutrition with your child’s doctor during their visits.
You still want to keep up with calcium and vitamin D in your 20s, Schiff says. You may need other vitamins or minerals at this age, too, depending on your diet. For example, vegans often need extra vitamin B12, as it is mainly found in animal products, she says. “Food is always better than supplements because, with a supplement, we are just extracting a single nutrient,” she says. “Whole foods contain vitamins, minerals, and fibre – all of which work synergistically.”